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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Follow Up on New Human Trafficking Notice Law

As we recently reported, amendments to the Human Trafficking Resource Notice Act require organizers of a public gatherings or special events on property open to the public that require the “issuance of a permit” from a unit of local government to post required notices to assist victims of human trafficking.

It's important to note that this new law also comes with new enforcement powers for local governments. While the Department of Labor was previously responsible for enforcement of the Act, now enforcement is up to the “governmental entity regulating a business or establishment and local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction...” In most cases, the enforcing authority will be a municipality or other unit of local government.

These new enforcement powers come with some practical problems. 

First, the phrase “public gathering or special event that is conducted on property open to the public and requires the issuance of a permit” is somewhat ambiguous. Based on the Act's emphasis on “public gathering” and “open to the public,” it seems that the law would only apply to events open to the general public, and not to private events such as a family celebration in a park district pavilion.

Second, although the Act specifically refers to events that require a "permit," it isn't clear whether that also extends to events that simply require local government approval or permission without the formality of a permit process.

Finally, the law requires local governments to give reasonable notice of a violation and a 30-day cure period before the Attorney General or State’s Attorney can prosecute violations and seek fines under the Act. But, it's likely the event will be over long before the 30-day cure period expires.

As a result, local governments interested in enforcing the notice requirement may wish to address these practical issues by ensuring that organizers of these events are on notice of the new requirements. That might include incorporating language into permit applications about the new notice requirements, and even requiring applicants to acknowledge when the Act applies to their events and that failure to post required notices will be subject to enforcement.

Post Authored by John Reding & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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